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Orange County Jails at the Breaking Point

Just two years ago the Orange County criminal inmate population was low enough that  Orange County actually closed down a few criminal jail wards. Coincidentally, the State of California decided at that same time, that its prisons were overflowing and it enacted legislation to send a good percentage of state prison criminal inmates back to the counties from which they were sentenced, to be housed by the local jails.

This would be a convenient use of public resources, except that since this “realignment” in October, 2011, Orange County jail populations have increased steadily- mostly through minor DUI and domestic violence arrests.

The Sheriff’s department recently expanded the Orange County jail and added more than 500 beds, but it’s not enough. If trends continue as they have, Orange County jails are going to be filled to capacity in a mere four months. Jail congestion could become so bad in Orange County that inmates will not be guaranteed a bed- just like the intake process in Los Angeles County, where arrestees typically go days, having to sleep on the concrete in a group cell, before beds become available.

It is unclear how officials plan to handle this looming crisis. Private or city jails, community work programs and electronic home supervision all remain options and are now even greater weapons in a good criminal defense attorney’s arsenal. Of course, the best way to avoid the overcrowding dilemma is to not be sentenced to jail in the first place.

If you or a loved one are looking at a potential criminal sentence call Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 to discuss your options today.  Besides having serious felonies reduced to misdemeanors, she has also had many cases dismissed outright. Her office is located in Irvine, California and is freeway close. Please visit for more information.

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